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Even in a difficult economy Customer Service can make a Difference!

One of my clients runs a group of car washes in California. I met with him last week and he gave me permission to relate to you his story.   The car wash business in light of the recent gas prices has not been at its best industry wide and my client after years of doing well found his summer months struggling to keep pace with last year’s numbers. On top of that the state of California wasn’t helping since Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and the legislature are locked in a battle to balance the state budget and have been refusing to pay state workers. That’s only increased the negative economic impact.
The challenge was to determine how to impact his business and get numbers back to where they’d been in previous years. My client had a sense of what needed to happen and where his site managers should be focused, on the customer. He had an operations manager who even after a year of training wasn’t understanding nor implementing many of the practices he wanted. His Operations Manager was from old school practices where the site manager was responsible for everything. In my client’s car washes technology was intended to report on the numbers for the car wash, and maintenance and other important specialized functions would be handled by the main office so the site managers could focus on one thing, customer service.
Site managers where given the initiative to greet, monitor and thank the customers. The expectation was that at least 50% of the customers would personally be thanked and asked how their experience was each day. With the aid of technology and a great IT person they actually could monitor how many customers the manager was thanking at the end of the car wash. Most importantly they hired a survey company from India to follow up with customers using the Net Promoter Score which originated from Fred Reichheld’s The Ultimate Question. For more on this go to my blog: Growth Summit cont. Fred Reichheld The Ultimate Question – Customer Advocacy
It took some time for the site managers to understand and see the relevance of their NPS. As they began to understand and appreciate its significance they got excited and began to ask how they were doing. One location typically registers the highest scores - an amazing 70% NPS. When you know how net promoter score is calculated you’ll be even more impressed with my client’s number.  [If you’d like to find out go to Net Promoter webpage:How To Calculate Your Score]  It’s no coincidence that this location rose to the top, and as of last month was beating the trend and topping last year’s numbers for revenues.   Two of my client’s other locations are trying to keep pace. Indeed at one of the locations my client warned his manager that if he didn’t get his NPS score up he would have to make a change. Within a week my client could begin to see the scores rise. He could literally monitor the numbers and see many more 10’s for NPS scores showing up. This manager raised his score from a 35% NPS to the high 50% range and my client believes from watching what it did at his best location that in a short time this location’s numbers will be near or above the revenues they were generating last year despite the economy and gas prices.
So my question to you is what’s your ONE THING? Is customer service an area of your business you’ve failed to address? Is it possibly you’ve been chasing after new customers and failing to recognize the value of your current customers? A tool like Net Promoter Score can quantify your businesses customer service. It objectively provides measurable information on the quality of your service. Isn’t that something you should know?

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Positioning Systems helps business owners and entrepreneurs transform their business.   We provide the tools and coaching to help you take control of your business -- rather then having your business control you.